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Development of physical aggression: Normal progress or neurological cause

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Anger and depression are handled in different ways among different people. One of these conditions that don't handle aggression well is autism. Allowances and study need to be done to help this group of people succeed in our society.


A number of studies have evaluated associations between parental practices, adolescent self-control, and adolescent antisocial behavior. Research done in 1990 found low self-control is correlated with delinquency, crime, and other forms of deviant behavior. Now, attention is being directed at investigating the social causes of self-control including school socialization, neighborhood context, and peer associations. Research from the field of developmental psychology adds to understanding the contribution of parental personality to understanding child personality. This study was able to meet their goals and they have been able to add to the research of the correlation between parental self-control and aggression in children. However, this study did not take into account this childhood behavior and children with mental health issues (Meldrum et al, 2018).

In a community sample of early adolescents exposed to a broad range of adverse experiences, three latent classes were identified. Person-centered underscores the utility of this approach. This was also found to be superior in finding children who had been victimized and were vulnerable to smaller hippocampus volume. This led to the same smaller volume noted distinctly associated in early adolescence. This study encourages long-term following of victimized children and the effects of smaller hippocampus volumes have on specific neurobiological systems (King et al, 2018).

How is this behavior determined?
The main goal was to compare long-term growth patterns in teachers and mothers ratings of overt aggression, covert aggression, oppositional defiance, impuls, vity/inattention and emotional dysregulation across developmental periods from Kindergarten to eighth grade or from ages five to thirteen. Differentially predicted growth is discrete categories of child externalizing symptoms across development. Overt aggression usually abates by two to three years showing the child’s self-regulation skills. Covert antisocial behavior is breaking rules by stealing, cheating, lying, and vandalism. Development of physical aggression and stealing appear to be asymmetrical. Oppositional defiant disorder and impulsive/inattention tend to occur together. Emotion dysregulation have been independently linked to genetic risk factors (Olson et al, 2018).

While it is widely known that childhood externalizes behaviors the children who exhibit continued high levels of externalization beyond childhood are at a greater risk for later maladjustment, social difficulties, school failure, and delinquent behavior. To this end this study is looking for ways to identify which children or adolescents are in danger of externalized aggression. Self-regulation refers to the ability to modulate arousal and behaviors in context of environmental demands. Deficits in acquiring of this have shown acquisition in later childhood, adolescence, or adulthood is highly constrained and continues to impact the child’s display of problem behaviors. Attention regulation has also been found to be an important trait for gauging behavioral responses across contexts (Perry, N.B. et al, 2018).

Importance of research
Children who use aggression in a deliberate and callous manner show deficits in their basic understanding of moral norms. Years of research have found deficits in children’s social judgments and lead to the development of aggressive tendencies. The capacity to make the difference between right and wrong is considered a milestone in a child’s development. But research has shown that this ability differs from one child to another. Adolescents and adults exhibiting extreme antisocial behavior also have a difficultly making the distinction between moral and conventional rules in their judgments and reasoning. It is vital that the underlying psychological reason for aggression be determined and addressed before the child causes harm. Important to remember reactive aggression can be seen as a hallmark of adult psychopathy (Jambon & Smetana, 2018).

Research in the field of aggression found that this is a multidimensional construct that can be defined by both the form and function of the presenting behavior. They have also found there is a way to classify aggression in children. Bifactor models allow for a hierarchical model of constructs so they can assess if indicators of specific factors contribute to a general factor. This model is also used when examining the structure of specific disorders like ADHD in children and adolescents. This study was conducted in an effort to introduce a method to evaluate co-occurrence of physical and relational aggression. Future research should focus on replicating the testing model of Bifactor and its invariance between genders. This study introduces this model as a viable way to monitor aggression with other etiologies (Perry, KJ & Ostov, 2018).

Evidence for problems in executive functioning in children with oppositional defiance disorder/conduct disorder is mixed with the impact of stress is woefully understudied. One underlying mechanism of behavior is executive functioning. This is crucial for controlling cognitive processing, emotions, and behavior. All of them can lead to psychiatric disorder such as depression, anxiety, and aggressive behavior. Several key executive functions, working memory, attention, inhibition, cognitive function and flexibility, planning, and monitoring. The first four are essential to adjust to changing demands. Executive dysfunction has been found in children diagnosed with ADHD or autism spectrum disorder. These two disorders are often comorbid with oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder. IQ was also found by this study to be lower in those children diagnosed with executive function disorders. It is felt by these researchers that executive dysfunction contributes to rigid behaviors, social difficulties, concentration issues and impulse control problems (Schoorl et al, 2018). Mentioning autism and developmental disabilities monitoring network is an active surveillance system that provides estimates of prevalence and characteristics of autism spectrum disorder. It is characterized by a developmental disability with social and communication impairments and restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. In 1994 the DSM-IV, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders-fourth addition, included five subtypes of autism, autism spectrum disorder, asperger disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, childhood disintegrative disorder, and Rhett’s disorder. The first three subtypes comprise autism spectrum disorder. In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders-fifth addition redefined autism spectrum disorder as a single disorder. Intellectual with IQ less than or equal to 70, borderline with IQ from 71-85. The percentage of children were diagnosed older than 48 months were 20%. The prevalence of this was in 2012, one in 69 children (Christensen et al, 2018). This doesn’t take into account the autistic children who have mental health issues in addition to this diagnosis.

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Works Cited
Christensen, D.L. et al. (2018). Prevalence and characteristics of autism spectrum disorder among children aged 8-autism and developmental disabilities monitoring. MMWR Surveillance Summary,65(13).

Jambon, M. & Smetana, J.G. (2018). Callous-unemotional traits moderate the association between children’s early moral understanding and aggression: A short-term longitudinal study. Developmental Psychology.

King, L.S. et al. (2018). A person-centered approach to the assessment of early life stress: Associations with the volume of stress-sensitive brain in early adolescence. Development and Psychopathology.

Meldrum, R.C. et al. (2018). Parental self-control and the development of male aggression in early childhood: A longitudinal test of self-control theory. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology.

Olson, S.L. et al. (2018). Mapping the growth of heterogeneous forms of externalizing problem behavior between early childhood and adolescence: A comparison of parent and teacher ratings. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,46(5).

Perry, K. J. & Ostov, J.M. (2018). Testing a bifactor model of relational and physical aggression in early childhood. Journal of Psychopathological Behavior Assessments.

Perry N.B. et al. (2018). Self-regulation as a predictor of patterns of change in externalizing behaviors from infancy to adolescence. Developmental Psychopathology, 30(2).

Schoorl, J. et al. (2018). Boys with oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder show impaired adaptation during stress: An executive functioning study. Child Psychiatry Human Development, 49(2).